While many homes come equipped with sprawling primary bathrooms, many do not. If you haven’t been blessed with an incredibly spacious bathroom, your options might seem limited. Most of the primary bathroom design ideas you can find online assume you have plenty of space to spare. They feature dramatic chandeliers, massive clawfoot tubs, and showers big enough to sleep in. But if your primary bathroom isn’t the size of a small palace, rest assured: you do have options.
The term "Primary Bathroom" is now a preferred way to describe the largest bathroom in the home. (Many experts—including the Real Estate Stanndards Assocaition—have recognized the potentially discriminatory origins of the term "Master Bathroom.") Read more about our Deversity and Inclusion Pledge.
There are tons of ways to make a small primary bathroom feel spacious, functional, and luxurious. Because—contrary to the décor inspiration you bookmarked might have you believing—excessive roominess isn’t a prerequisite for a well-designed space. By working with what you’ve got and adding efficiency where you can, you can create a space that feels genuinely special.
To demonstrate our point, we’ve rounded up 33 stunning small primary bathrooms, which prove that size doesn’t matter: the way you use your space does.
01 Set the Scene With a Bold Tile Choice
When your bathroom is low on space, it may seem frivolous to add any purely decorative accents. After all, shouldn’t you be optimizing for function anywhere you can?
But, tiles are a necessity in any bathroom, and they’re a great place to have some fun. Snag a statement-making set, and transform your bathroom without adding any bulk.
02 Go All In one Vanity Storage
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Vanities are great places to sneak in some storage. If space is limited, it’s worth it to make sure your vanity meets your precise storage needs. So if you have a bunch of small necessities to store, consider trading large cabinets for smaller ones.
Give yourself a mix of open storage options (like cubbies and shelves) and closed ones (like cabinets).
Bath trays can be a great way to add luxury and functionality to a small bathroom. In addition to giving you a place to rest food and drinks during your longest, most luxurious baths, a bath tray can optimize your storage set-up. The space inside your tub probably goes underutilized, and adding a shelf—in the form of a bath tray—can make it more efficient.
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Showers tend to be square or rectangular, but they certainly don’t have to be. By scoring a pentagonal shower, you can save a little space—often, without making your shower feel tight or cramped.
05 Cozy Things Up With a Rug
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Rugs make a striking addition to any bathroom, but they can be a particularly good investment if your bathroom is small. Why? Rugs are low-profile, so they can add style to your bathroom without taking up much—or really, any—space at all.
06 Cut Down on Vanity Bulk
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Vanities can be useful from a storage perspective, but they can also be incredibly bulky. If you don’t have that much to store, consider forgoing the traditional vanity, and pairing a freestanding sink with a few storage baskets, instead.
07 Load Up on Shower Shelves
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The more toiletries you can store in your shower, the less you have to store under your sink, behind your mirror, or somewhere else in your bathroom. So, consider installing a few shower shelves. You can match them to your shower tiles, or use them to add a pop of color to your space.
And remember, you don’t have to store everything on them—just your go-to shower necessities.
If you’re navigating a narrow bathroom, you might think a bathtub is out of the question—how could you possibly fit one in your space? But the truth is, there are plenty of tubs that are designed to be narrow but deep. Snag a freestanding option to spare some extra space, and make the most of the walls next to your tub by installing a towel rack or some shelves.
Bath stools can be incredibly useful to have. The shower-friendly seats can double as shelves and triple as décor. And though anything that makes your set-up more efficient is worth sparing space for, you can snag an extra-small bath stool to free up extra room.
10 Add Drama With a Chandelier
Great primary bathrooms feel glamorous, even paradisiacal. But if space is tight, where, exactly, are you supposed to add those much-needed luxurious touches? Try looking up. Your floor space may be thoroughly furnished, but you probably have some ceiling space to spare. And a chandelier can transform even the smallest of bathrooms into a show-stopper.
11 Stick to a Single Floor Tile
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One easy way to make your bathroom look and feel more spacious? Use the same floor tile from wall to wall. This will create continuity between your shower and the rest of your bathroom, making the whole room seem bigger.
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Mirrors are a necessity in any bathroom, and since statement-making mirrors aren’t usually much bigger than standard ones, you can snag a striking option that adds style to your bathroom without taking up unnecessary space.
Shelves can be a great way to add storage space to your bathroom. But since they often jut out of the wall, they can make a small space feel more cramped. One way around this? Build shelves into your walls. This may not be possible to do with every wall, but it’s a clever way to upgrade your space wherever you can pull it off.
A small bathroom doesn’t mean giving up your dreams of owning a tub—it just means rethinking them. If your bathroom is too narrow to accommodate a tub, could you try turning that tub sideways? Sure, the choice is unusual, but if it makes your bathroom more enjoyable, isn’t it worth trying?
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If you’re determined to cut bulk anywhere you can, consider trading your freestanding sink for a wall-mounted one. Wall-mounted sinks don’t demand any more space than is necessary, giving you even more under-the-sink room to play with.
Shower curtains may not take up a lot of room, but they do visually close off your space. To create the illusion of a more spacious interior, consider dropping the shower curtain altogether. You can always use different tiles to section off your space.
Towel racks tend to be all function, no form. But if you’re willing to get creative, you can trade your traditional towel rack for a similarly low-profile item, like a ladder. In addition to giving you more room to hang towels, the swap will add personality to your bathroom in a space-efficient way.
If you can’t mount your mirror on your wall, you may think you need to rest it on your countertop. But what if you hung it from your ceiling and let it dangle in front of your wall, instead? This out-of-the-box approach won’t make sense in every bathroom. But if your wall is lined with windows—or if it isn’t nail-friendly—it’s a solid space-saving option.
One perk of having a small bathroom? You can pull off a bold palette. Striking colors tend to be best in small doses. And nothing lends itself to small doses like a small space.
Walls can close off a space, making it feel more cramped, so consider cutting your shower walls in half. These shorter-than-average walls should be enough to keep water from spilling onto your floors, without making your space feel more crowded than necessary.
Art is a great way to dress up any space. And since it typically sits flat against your walls, it should lend your bathroom some statement-making style without taking space away from other necessities.
If you don’t have room for a separate shower and bathtub, simply combine the two. Snag a bathtub/shower combo, or stick a freestanding tub inside an unusually large shower.
Many vanities run from sink to floor, but if you don’t need all that storage space, consider snagging a hovering vanity. The piece should give you an extra foot of under-vanity space. And while that might not sound like a lot, it should be enough to make the room feel more open.
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Glass shower walls won’t necessarily save space. But since you can see through them, they should make your space feel more open. (Just be sure to keep them clean!)
Some small primary bathrooms aren’t just small—they’re also unusually shaped. But instead of looking for ways to cover up these so-called “flaws,” try to use them to your advantage. Could you tuck a shower seat underneath a slanted ceiling? This clever choice could cozy up your bathroom, while helping you make the most of would-be dead space.
Shower curtains are excellent places to make a statement. Why? You probably need one anyway. And since they’re low-profile, they can dress up your bathroom without demanding unnecessary space.
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Below-mirror cabinets are a popular way to add functionality to your bathroom. But mirror-adjacent cabinets can be just as useful—especially if you’re in dire need of storage space.
Breathing room between pieces is lovely, but it’s ultimately a luxury. So rethink your layout, and creatively cram in as much functionality as you can. Would you rather have negative space next to your vanity, or would you rather have a bathtub?
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Many sinks are bigger than they need to be. If yours falls into this category, consider swapping it with a smaller option. (Your future self will thank you for all the counter space you just freed up.)
Try not to waste even an inch of space. If a wall isn’t serving a purpose, consider transforming it into a set of shelves. And make sure the space underneath big-ticket items—like your vanity—is being used, as well.
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Your primary bathroom should feel like a slice of paradise, but filling it with décor is an easy way to clutter it up. So look for ways to add luxury without adding bulk. A tray on your vanity may be all you need to pull your space together.
If you keep all of your décor elements small, purposeful, and compact, you shouldn’t lose too much space.
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Light colors tend to make a space feel bigger, so consider filling your bathroom with them. By committing to one or two light colors, you can make your bathroom look more spacious—and you can simplify your decor scheme, in the process.
If your bathroom is small, you won’t have to fill it with too many pieces, so try to make an impact with every piece you add. By combining a striking sink with bold floors and a statement-making tub, you can craft a space that feels truly special—and luxurious enough to call your primary bathroom.